An Evening With Mountainview Boys

We have had a magnificent start to second session and there is much to talk about. It is always nice to meet new campers and get reacquainted with those from last summer. The first thing one of the boys asked when he saw me was if there was going to be a story tonight, and another asked if Baron von Clean still comes to inspect the bunks. There were some very special moments as old friends greeted each other and children who had not seen each other for eleven months began interacting if as they had been separated for five minutes.

There have been many acts of brotherhood and friendship over the past few days. Whether it was an entire bunk gathering around a homesick brother, or two boys devoting a rest hour to making friendship bracelets for every kid in the bunk, the children are coming together in many ways. Some of this is being facilitated by their counselors, but to a greater extent the boys are doing this great work on their own.  Just this morning at breakfast, the boy who had been pining for his parents yesterday was encouraging someone else who had just arrived.

Your children have been playing and singing and cheering. They have been trying new things and making new friends. They have been swimming, stomping in puddles, playing cards, participating in services, making their beds, cleaning their bunks, listening to stories, and occasionally trying to stab me with a light saber (seriously, it’s a lot of fun). So much they might do at any sleep away camp (well, maybe the light saber thing is unique).

But let me tell you something.

We had a marshmallow roast on our first night of camp. Cameron, our relief counselor does this great routine about “How to Roast a Marshmallow down in Texas.” The boys were in hysterics. At one point, we break into groups and I am playing “Simon Says” with a bunch of boys. Just as the game begins Cameron comes over to me with a beautiful golden brown marshmallow on a stick which he has courteously made for me. Even though they had all just had a marshmallow, their eyes widened at this perfect specimen and they expressed their admiration for the flawless uniformity of color. No piece in the Louvre has ever been so adored.

Then I tell them that the winner of the game can take this work of perfection as his prize and they gasp in astonishment and that competitive edge comes out, and every boy is paying attention. I might not have mentioned this but I am a pretty mean Simon and a minute later all the boys but one get out at once. This lucky lad took the stick and his golden prize and walked away smiling.

But only two steps.

Suddenly he turned around, and taking a small piece of the marshmallow off with his dirty fingers that he had recently used to collect wood, dig in the dirt, and run through his sweaty hair, and gives it to another boy. A moment later he is surrounded by a circle of equally filthy hands, upon each of which he smears a piece of slimy marshmallow that is then eagerly licked off.

It was the most disgusting and beautiful thing I have ever seen. Neil

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